ICA and UN Agencies

    This document has been made available in electronic format
         by the International Co-operative Alliance ICA 

                         August, 1996

Source : An ICA Policy for Co-operative Development, Studies and
Reports, ICA, London, 1983, 28 pp. Hard copy available in French,
German, Spanish and Russian.

          An ICA policy for Co-operative Development

                    IV.  ICA and UN Agencies

a)   The Role of the UN

     As far as co-operative development is concerned, the ICA
     and the UN agencies work towards the same goal: the
     development of autonomous, democratic, viable co-
     operative organizations as instruments of self-help and

     A number of resolutions adopted by the UN General
     Assembly, ECOSOC, International Labour Conferences and
     other members of the UN system have emphasized the
     importance of voluntary co-operation as an instrument of
     genuine human progress. Consequently, the programmes of
     UN agencies contain substantial elements to aid co-
     operative development. Together, these programmes
     contribute the major part of assistance in this field.

     The World Bank devotes a considerable and growing part of
     its resources to rural development in which co-operation
     has a significant role. UNDP has an important role in the
     financing of co-operative development projects. ILO has,
     ever since its foundation in 1919, a Co-operative Branch
     within its office, which apart from research and services
     in the fields of legislation and statistics, administers
     a great number of co-operative projects.

     With regard to plans for transfer of functions from state
     to co-operative movement, contracts and collaboration
     between ICA and international organizations is of great

     UN departments and specialized agencies, such as ILO,
     FAO, UNESCO, UNIDO and WFP take an active part in
     promoting popular participation and self-help activities,
     not least in the form of co-operative organizations.

     ICA welcomes this trend towards stronger emphasis on co-
     operative self-help. In the development of true,
     autonomous and democratic co-operatives, both the inter-
     governmental such as UN agencies, and the non-
     governmental such as ICA, have a vital role to play. They
     are partners in development. On the part of ICA, the
     collaboration takes the form of representation at UN and
     other international meetings and conferences of relevance
     from a co-operative point of view, as well as of active
     collaboration at the secretariat level and - mainly
     through the Regional Offices - in field programmes.

b)   Co-ordination
     In order to achieve a rational co-ordination between the
     various inter-governmental and non-governmental
     international organizations, the Committee for the
     Promotion of Aid to Co-operatives (COPAC) was established
     in 1974 on the initiative of ICA. In addition to co-
     ordination, this committee with its secretariat in FAO,
     has an important role to play in the field of research.
     ICA continued to support the work of COPAC.

V.   Conclusions

The international economic crisis of the nineteen-eighties has
reduced resources available for development aid. It has, at
the same time, increased the need for international

In this situation, there is, however, one positive aspect: the
growing recognition that genuine development can be achieved,
even in these dark times, by an active involvement of the
great masses of men and women in the development process. To a
much larger extent than before, this process must take the
form of mobilization of human resources,. of `help to self-

This is a great challenge to the international co-operative

ICA is prepared to meet this challenge. As a non-governmental
organization, it is in a position to effectively assist in the
fostering of self-help activities and in the educational
process which is necessary in order to achieve lasting

In these activities, ICA collaborates closely with its
affiliated organizations in 71 countries. Moreover, its co-
operation - based on century old experiences of co-operative
development - to the UN and other specialized agencies which
recognize social and economic development as one of the
principal conditions in their struggle for Peace.

Voluntary co-operation without boundaries is a necessary
instrument to achieve world-wide equity, welfare and peace.